Who is among you that fears the LORD,
That obeys the voice of His servant,
That walks in darkness and has no light?
Let him trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God.
Behold, all you who kindle a fire,
Who encircle yourselves with firebrands,
Walk in the light of your fire
And among the brands you have set ablaze.
This you will have from My hand;
And you will lie down in torment.
- Isaiah 50:10, 11
These verses exhibit the parallelism characteristic of Hebrew poetry. Verse ten deals with the consequences for he who trusts in God, and verse 11 the consequences for he who trusts in himself.
The excuses we often use for trusting in our own efforts or our own devices are rooted in the circumstances we find ourselves. “I can’t trust God, I’m a practical man!”,“I have no time for prayer.”, “I’m a man of action!”. “The night is so dark and I am so frightened, I will do anything I can to keep the darkness at bay.” Yet our verse shows that just when we are most likely to trust in our own efforts and wisdom is the time to trust in God. We trust in God not despite the darkness, but because of the darkness. We trust in God in the darkness because we know kindling a fire and encircling ourselves with flames and walking by the light of our own fire are all insufficient. Instead, we rely on God, because we know we are unreliable. We lean on God, because we know, we need something to lean on.
One common complaint about Christians is that we think we are better than everyone else. What an indictment! Believers are no better than anyone else. We follow God because we know we’re no better, because we know on our own we are weak and powerless and selfish. Perhaps is we could learn to trust in God more, if we could stop trying to rely on ourselves to solve our problems or “be good”, the critics would be silenced by the recognition that we walk by faith, not by sight, just as the Servant of God did.